Gutsy's persistent net rules don't persist (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Sun, 23 Dec 2007

Gutsy's persistent net rules don't persist

I use wireless so seldom that it seems like each time I need it, it's a brand new adventure finding out what has changed since the last time to make it break in a new and exciting way.

This week's wi-fi adventure involved Ubuntu's current "Gutsy Gibbon" release and my prism54 wireless card. I booted the machine, switched to the right (a href="http://shallowsky.com/linux/networkSchemes.html">network scheme, inserted the card, and ... no lights. ifconfig -a showed the card on eth1 rather than eth0.

After some fiddling, I ejected the card and re-inserted it; now ifconfig -a showed it on eth2. Each time I inserted it, the number incremented by one.

Ah, that's something I remembered from Debian Etch -- a problem with the udev "persistent net rules" file in /etc/udev.

Sure enough, /etc/udev/70-persistent-net.rules had two entries for the card, one on eth1 and the other on eth2. Ejecting and re-inserting added another one for eth3. Since my network scheme is set up to apply to eth0, this obviously wouldn't work.

A comment in that file says it's generated from 75-persistent-net-generator.rules. But unfortunately, the rules uesd by that file are undocumented and opaque -- I've never been able to figure out how to make a change in its behavior. I fiddled around for a bit, then gave up and chose the brute force solution:

And that worked fine. Without 75-persistent-net-generator.rules getting in the way, the name seen in 70-persistent-net.rules works fine and I'm able to use the network.

The weird thing about this is that I've been using Gutsy with my wired network card (a 3com) for at least a month now without this problem showing up. For some reason, the persistent net generator doesn't work for the Prism54 card though it works fine for the 3com. A scan of the Ubuntu bug repository reveals lots of other people hitting similar problems on an assortment of wireless cards; bug 153727 is a fairly typical report, but the older bug 31502 (marked as fixed) points to a likely reason this is apparently so common on wireless cards -- apparently some of them report the wrong MAC address before the firmware is loaded.

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[ 18:02 Dec 23, 2007    More linux | permalink to this entry ]